The BC Energy Step Code is the Province’s new building energy code, involving a series of “Steps” representing improving energy performance levels. It measures the performance of different parts of the building, such as its airtightness level, envelope thermal performance, and mechanical equipment efficiency. The BC Energy Step Code will improve home comfort and air quality while reducing energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions from new buildings in Abbotsford.
Phase 1 – September 1, 2019
Starting September 1, 2019, builders and designers should submit building permits that meet Step 1 of the Energy Step Code for Part 9 new residential buildings.
Submissions that meet Step 1 of the Energy Step Code for Part 9 will follow a faster building permit review stream. Depending on the volume of applications, applicants may see a shorter wait time of up to 2 weeks. View current Permit Wait Times.
For Part 3 commercial buildings, Step 1 requirements will start for Development Permits (DP) made on or after September 1, 2019. This is to accommodate the energy model to meet Step 1, and for any impacts the modeling makes on the form and character of the building. Incentives will be offered for submissions meeting Step 3 or higher.
The City is relying on the Registered Professionals (RPs) who are submitting the Letters of Assurance (LOAs) for compliance to Step 1 for Part 3 buildings after September 1, 2019. Applications must have the Energy Model completed by a Registered Professional and the City will be requesting a copy of the Provincial Part 3 Compliance Form for Energy Step Code as part of the permit intake.
Phase 2 - October 1, 2020
The Step Code implementation date for new Part 9 buildings, including single family dwellings, was postponed due to Covid-19. The new Step Code implementation date is Oct. 1, 2020.
Meeting Step 1 of the Energy Step Code for Houses
The Energy Step Code Step 1 involves the following:
- Engaging a Certified Energy Advisor (CEA) early in the design so that the CEA can perform an energy assessment using one of the approved softwares, most likely “Hot2000”;
- Submission of the Provincial Part 9 Compliance Form as part of the permit intake package;
- Performing a mid-construction blower door test for airtightness, unless air-tight drywall is used;
- Performing a post construction blower door test to get an air-exchange rate reading of the airtightness of the building; the air-exchange rate is fed back into the energy model program to confirm compliance and to obtain an Energuide rating;
- Submit the Energuide rating to NRCan.
Airtightness testing at building completion is a key part of Step Code performance requirements. The Province requires all Step Code buildings to conduct a final airtightness test to receive an occupancy permit. At Step 1, airtightness must be good enough for overall building energy performance to equal the BC Building Code reference building. View the Provincial Bulletins B19-02 and B19-03 on airtightness.
Airtightness is the most cost-effective way to improve building energy performance, and an airtight building is easiest and least costly to achieve prior to drywall installation. The City of Abbotsford is strongly encouraging all Part 9 buildings to conduct a mid-construction blower door test before a building can proceed to insulation inspection.
As this is intended to be a capacity building requirement, the City is currently determining how the requirement may be waived for applicants that can demonstrate success constructing multiple airtight buildings, and the City will update the bulletins when this is determined.
Your Certified Energy Advisor will help with these tests and will suggest ways you can improve your building’s energy performance. The City encourages building teams to involve as many staff and trades as possible during the first few mid-construction blower door tests.
- Part 9 Compliance Forms/Reports
- Part 3 Compliance Forms/Reports - Currently under development by the Province.
Guides & Resources
- BC Energy Code Incentives
- BC Energy Step Code Builder Guide
- BC Energy Step Code Design Guide
- BC Energy Step Code Resources for Homeowners
- BC Energy Step Code Resources for Industry
- BC Energy Step Code Website
- Certified Energy Advisors
- Designing for Energy Efficient Building: A Reference for Planners and Designers
- Fortis BC New Home Program Incentives
Visit the BC Energy Step Code website for more information on each of the Step Code requirements.
Rebates and Incentives
Local builder, architect/designer or homeowner who’s looking to build a new home or renovating one are encouraged to take advantage of the current rebates and incentives offered. Upcoming rebates or incentives will be updated here as they become available.
The City is offering a $500 rebate for the first 40 Part 9 step code applications (single family dwellings) that follow the step code through to occupancy.
New Part 9 constructions following Step Code are eligible for $1000 up to $10,000 rebate through FortisBC’s New Home Program.
For a limited time, select Clean BC Better Homes and Home Renovation Rebate Program rebates are doubled to support the restart of B.C.’s economy and help homeowner’s save energy. Registration is required by December 31, 2020 to apply for double rebates.
Homeowners are eligible for double rebates of up to $2400 for improvements which result in space heating efficiency and reduction in natural gas consumption.
Rebates of up to $8000 are available from CleanBC for switching primary heating from natural gas, propane or oil heating to electricity. Visit the CleanBC website for more information.